The 2022 NFL Draft features some insane wide receiver depth, including Boise State’s Khalil Shakir. Shakir is one of the more underrated names but could still be drafted in the middle rounds. A deeper dive into the film is necessary for the former four-star, uber-versatile receiver because he did impress at both the Scouting Combine and Senior Bowl. Let’s get into it.
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Name: Khalil Shakir
Jersey: No. 2
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Boise State
Weight: 196 lbs
Games Watched: Oklahoma State (2021), Nevada (2021), BYU (2020)
Major Injury History: None
Hands/Ball Security (9.5/10)
There was only one drop in the three games watched and that came on a drag route versus Nevada. Otherwise, Shakir’s hands are impeccable. He’s made all the safe, must-have catches while being flashy as well. Shakir has demonstrated time and time again his ability to make one-handed grabs, as well as stay focused when the ball is being juggled around.
Contested Catch (7.25/10)
This is a hard area to judge for Shakir. First of all, he has very short arms, which limits him from the jump-ball catches. Second, Shakir doesn’t have the greatest jumping ability, again limiting his jump-ball play. On the other hand, the film has shown some huge flashes. Against Nevada, Shakir was able to haul in a touchdown with two defenders draped all over him. He didn’t have to leap up for this one, so it showed that Shakir is strong at the catch point.
Tracking/Body Control (8.25/10)
Shakir has done a nice job making adjustments in mid-air and catching passes. We saw a beautiful twisting sideline grab versus Oklahoma State that showed the potential in this area. He has made the highlight plays that you like to see while being able to stay balanced throughout. The knock comes with tracking the ball. Shakir has shown somewhat of a weakness tracking in the ball deep, as demonstrated on two plays against Oklahoma State and BYU.
Route Running (8.25/10)
Route running is really three-fold for Shakir, referencing the three areas of the field. Starting off with the short areas, Shakir is just average. We’ve seen a ton of drags here and quick outs. He does not run the quick outs too well, although he has shown improvement at times. All you’d like to see is more depth with these, but short-area route running is the middle of the three areas.
In the intermediate areas, Shakir is best. This is where he’ll make most of his money in the NFL. Shakir has killer in-routes and is nearly unstoppable in the middle. He also knows exactly where to end his route and sit in zone coverage to be open for a reception. We’ve also seen Shakir understand cornerback hips best here. He’ll flip a corner around with ease while gaining leverage and getting out into space for the grab. Shakir’s quickness and agility match up perfectly with the intermediate area and are the reason he’ll get drafted.
Finally, deeper parts of the field are where Shakir is at his worst. Now, we should note that Shakir did get two deep receptions versus BYU, but they were due to blown coverage. Other than that, Shakir has not shown an ability to gain separation deep. His speed is clearly an issue here, and we don’t see him try to double move much. This is the area that needs to get better before it gets worse if Shakir wants to have a successful career.
When Shakir has a defender giving him space, he can be deadly. He’ll flip his hips so quickly that the defender can’t catch up. When the defender is all over Shakir, it gets a little harder for him to separate. Shakir has been seen running whole routes with the corner right on him, gaining zero separation. This is due to the lack of long speed and the route tree. While Shakir is good in the middle areas, his deeper routes need to be crisper so that he can gain separation at the next level.
This is another relatively average trait for Shakir. He’s been able to knock down jam attempts and break away from the corner off the line, but the speed becomes an issue. There’s a narrative out there saying that Shakir needs more upper-body strength in his release, which is true as well. Strength has not impacted Shakir’s ability to beat an initial jam yet, but NFL corners are much stronger. He could struggle early.
Run After Catch (7.5/10)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, speed on tape is an issue for Shakir. While he is super evasive and gets big chunk plays a ton, he’s also been an easy tackle at times. His usage in the run after catch game, and simply the way he evades defenders, reminds you of a Julian Edelman-esque runner. Not the elite speed, but the evasiveness to get around guys and through holes.
Vertical Speed (6.75/10)
Here we finally are. The factor that holds Shakir back the most. This grade would most likely be lower if Shakir did not run a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Pre-Combine, many thought Shakir would be in the 4.5 area. Since Shakir is so versatile, we’ve seen long-speed issues on go-routes on the outside and through high-low concepts in the slot. He rarely gains a step on the defender when going deep. Overall, flashes are there for speed, but it is the aspect of Shakir’s game that limits him most.
For the lack of speed, Shakir does pack really nice burst. He’s able to change speeds and take off over the middle of the field. Additionally, Shakir is able to stop rather quickly and excel back to the quarterback on curls and comeback routes. Burst won’t make up for Shakir’s unimpressive long speed, though it will help quite a bit.
Shakir’s raw athletic score comes in at an 8.02, which is a bit skewed because that 40-time was faster than he plays. For the most part, he is a good, not great, athlete. His agility scores at the combine were really poor, and he performed unlike anyone expected. With that being said, everything about Shakir’s athleticism is serviceable at the next level.
Another relatively average result for Shakir. We’ve seen serious flashes in this area, but he can be uninvolved as well. His frame provides almost no value at the next level as a blocker, but his technique has been very good over the years. We’ve seen Shakir set the edge in the BYU game while making key blocks in the other two. Consistency is needed for the NFL, but Shakir can get it done.
The most exciting part about Shakir’s game is his versatility. The Boise State product did it all for the Broncos and projects to keep this up in the NFL. He will contest for reps in the slot, on the boundary, and even be a key special teams player as his return experience was fun to watch. Versatility is why Shakir will get drafted earlier than some other well-known receivers in this draft.
The key narrative for Shakir after scouting him out is that he is a jack-of-all-trades receiver. He has plenty of weaknesses, but the strengths are key. His ability to win in the intermediate levels of the field from both the “X” position and the slot is a huge sign that Shakir can succeed. From a projection standpoint, look for Shakir to get drafted on day two. Most thought he’d be a later day two guy before the combine. Now, though, he should go in the fourth round. Once Shakir gets some time to develop, this is a receiver that can be reliable for quite some time in any scheme.
Rookie Projection: Rotational Wide Receiver
Third-Year Projection: Starting Slot Receiver
Player Grade (78/100): Mid-Third Round
Player Comparison: Austin Collie
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